Mapping from Student to Professional

Posted on May 5, 2015. Filed under: Career, College, Confidence, Internship | Tags: , , , |

As a college student you are usually told exactly what is expected of you by your professors in the form of a syllabus. During this same time parents are letting you know what they expect of your academic performance, especially if they are paying for your education. In this respect, college is laid out like a road map that you must follow to arrive at your desired location – graduation and a job.

In the professional world it is unlikely that you will receive such clear mapping from your employer. There may be a job description with a list of related responsibilities, but unlike a course syllabus you will rarely find a step by step guide to success. An employer may even expect that a fresh-out-of-college hire comes with innovative ideas to improve their established systems. YOU are expected to decide how to approach each task or create your own map to achieve the desired outcome.

How do you go from map-follower to mapmaker?

Internships provide an opportunity to test out your analytical and critical thinking skills in a supportive learning environment. As an intern you take what you’ve learned in the classroom and apply it in a professional setting as you test what works and what doesn’t. Students can practice that balancing act between asking too many questions and not asking enough. At your internship it is expected that you will have questions, even make some mistakes, and then receive constructive feedback so you can move forward with new knowledge and skills.

folded-maps-27675895One way to approach this transition is to write your own syllabus. Institute you own deadlines with benchmarks that let you know that you are on the right track, grading yourself as you move forward. Using available resources such as work manuals, mentors, supervisor consultations, and Google, an intern or young professional can create a map to navigate this new world.

You may not have considered following a syllabus to be a significant learning outcome of your college years, but knowing how to create your own can be an asset as you transition to life after graduation.

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